The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a new guidance on homemade or locally-made face masks for prevention of COVID-19.
The WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, gave the advice on Sunday, June 7, 2020 on its official twitter handle @WHOAFRO.
The UN health agency urged people to clean locally-made face masks properly before wearing again.
According to WHO, the guidance on homemade masks are important for preventing COVID-19 in low-income context.
In a video posted on the twitter account, Guy Mbayo, Technical Officer, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), WHO Regional Office for Africa, said homemade masks were important for African countries.
“WHO has recommended the wearing of medical masks; at the beginning of the crisis, there were not enough; supply chain was already disrupted.
“Member-states and governments have made wearing of face masks mandatory in their own countries; people were prompted to resort to homemade masks,’’ he said.
According to him, the document provides guideline on how to wear them; how to clean them; how to remove them and when to remove them, and much more importantly, how to manufacture them locally.
“The masks do not protect you fully; you still need to observe all the measures that were recommended, like the hand washing with soap and water, and physical distancing.
“When you are removing the mask, don’t allow it to touch your hand; use the elastic to remove it without touching the mask itself,” he said.
The official also advised that the masks needed to be clean on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the agency said the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa had risen to over 175,000 as at June 6.
“There are over 175,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent, with more than 77,000 recoveries and 4,800 deaths,’’ it said.
WHO said that South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria had the highest reported cases in the continent.
According to the organisation, South Africa has 43,434 cases and 908 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 11,844 confirmed cases and 333 deaths, while Algeria has 9,935 confirmed cases and 690 deaths.
By Cecilia Ologunagba